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    Oh, the revered julep: this sweet Southern favorite has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby for almost a hundred years. More than 120,000 of the silver-cupped libations are sold at Churchill each Derby weekend. But the mint julep is not a drink for everyone: for some some, the bourbon-mint combination is not "mint" to be. For those drinkers, here are five julep alternatives to consume this Derby season: 


    1. Sparkling Espresso Julep

    Image: Michelle Eigenheer
    Press on Market
    252 E. Market Street
    Now here’s a drink to really get you out of the gates! A minty espresso mixed with simple syrup and sparkling water is a perfect, refreshing pick-me-up.  It’s minty like the Julep, but the espresso replaces the bourbon making for a less intense sweetness. This is the jolt of energy to get you through the weekend.

    2. Ride the Mule

    Image: Copper & Kings
    Copper & Kings
    1111 E. Washington Street 

    This “hassle-free” sipper isn’t anything like a Julep, so if the minty drink is something you detest, Ride the Mule instead. This brandy cocktail was crafted by Copper & Kings for springtime in Kentucky” and is the “NOT Official Drink of Derby,” according to the press release. Even better, you can make it at home!

    Ride the Mule™
    2 ounces Copper & Kings immature brandy
    .5 ounces lime juice
    4 ounces Butchertown Soda ginger beer
    Lime wheel and wedge
    In a highball glass, muddle lime wheel at the bottom, avoiding the peel. Add brandy and ice. Top with ginger beer. Squeeze lime wedge on top and drop in glass.

    3. Strai8ht Ballin’

    Image: Katie Molck 
    Against the Grain & Ei8ht Ball Brewing
    401 E. Main Street
    Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker! This might be true for Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory, but there are those of us who can go without a liquor, every once in awhile. For those trying to pace themselves this Derby season and enjoy a flavorful drink at a slow trot, Against the Grain’s collaboration brew with Ei8ht Ball is the way to go. This bourbon ball inspired beer is a sweet like candy and boozy like bourbon! It’s dripping with chocolate notes and lush vanilla character to cut the bourbon finish.

    4. Secretariat Milkshake

    Image: Comfy Cow
    Comfy Cow
    Various Louisville and Southern Indiana Locations
    It’s ice cream for the win! Comfy Cow’s Derby Collection is a safe bet alternative. With seven delicious Kentucky inspired flavors, there’s no losing here. Every flavor can be blended into a super smooth and creamy milkshake. Try the Secretariat. It’s a collaboration churn with Penny Chenery and the Secretariat team churned to commemorate Big Red. It pays homage to the iconic blue and white silks of the horse by blending Barry Callebaut white chocolate ice cream with chunks of their homemade blueberry cobbler.

    5. Derby Brandy Julep 

    Image: Prime Media

    If you’re not looking to stray far from the Derby course, then making a variation of the classic is a great way to keep the spirit alive and refreshed. Try this peach-and-ginger brandy version inspired by the Georgia julep! Check out our video, “Something to Swig: Derby Brandy Julep,” to learn how to mix it up.




    Katie Molck's picture

    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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